Posts Tagged ‘Iznik’


Balloon carrying clowns, camping out at the ‘carpet area’, professional photo opportunities, being fed to explosion, and a night out at the theatre watching 100 years since the Çanakkale victory. A fantastic roller coaster ride of Turkish hospitality. Love it!

With one of our hosts Emir in Bilecik

With one of our hosts Emir in Bilecik

It was one of those nights. Lying on our mats in the hall at the local football field (‘carpet area’), James and I looked at each other, our mouths open. We didn’t know where it was all going. We knew it would be good, being led by our amazing hosts in the town of Bilecik.

The carpet area bedroom

The carpet area bedroom

Zooming down from our first ascent to 600m into the town of Yenisehir, we were greeted by a clown, on the side of the dusty road plied by cement trucks, holding a bunch of colourful balloons.
‘Dur! Dur!’ (Stop! Stop!)
I stopped, and the clown took a selfie with both of us.
Then I did too.
Why was he there, I hear you ask..
I don’t know.

Welcoming clown in Yenisehir

Welcoming clown in Yenisehir

Zooming down from our second ascent, this time from 700m into the town of Bilecik, we were greeted by 2 young men in fluorescent yellow safety vests next to bikes, the Turkish flag fluttering above the bikes in the breeze.

Me and our hosts Emir and Hakan

Me and our hosts Emir and Hakan

‘Hello friends. I am Hakan, and this is Emir. Welcome to Bilecik. First we eat, then we show you the town, and then we go to the carpet area.’
We had been in touch with Hakan through warm showers.
The food was delicious and copious – perfect for hungry cyclists.

Dinner in Bilecik

Dinner in Bilecik

We were shown the gardens of the town hall where we were photographed by a photographer – for the local newspaper perhaps? The Bilecik Facebook page? No idea..

At the town hall in Bilecik

At the town hall in Bilecik

After setting up camp at the carpet area, our other Warm Showers contact Fikret, asked if we want to go to the theatre that night. Why not? Off we went, wearing our best evening wear. We were introduced to everyone at the theatre. ‘Welcome to Bilecik, my friend!’

Theatre in Bilecik

Theatre in Bilecik

Tonight was a performance on 100 years of Çanakkale – a terrible battle at Gallipoli – equally horrific for our Turkish hosts and the ANZACS as we were called (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps – which James and I were representing). Here 250,000 Turks, Australians, New Zealanders, French and British died in a blood bath for access to the thin straights of water connecting the Mediterranean to the Black Sea. I saw the battle fields first had last year by bike.

Çanakkale theatre production

Çanakkale theatre production

Perched at the back of the theatre looking down, we saw the play – video combination of fighting at Çanakkale. At the break James was thrust a phone into his hand. It was a journalist.
‘What do you think about the Çanakkale victory?’
A lot of young people were killed in a horrible war. Here is the newspaper article.

What a day – and night. Not speaking Turkish, one can only go with the flow, knowing that whatever happens, with our lovely hosts, it will all be good.


Cycling through the mountains today I suddenly realised – we are cycling across the world. We are on our way across some of the most amazing parts of the planet. Now away from the bustle of Istanbul, we breathed a sigh of relief cycling through little Turkish villages to our very welcoming warm showers host on Lake Iznik.

Small village on the way to Lake Iznik

Small village on the way to Lake Iznik

The mind is willing but the body is weak. Three months of break means those legs are not as strong as they were. We left the main road from Yalova and hit the slopes. Up to 550m, passing some rubbish avalanches

Rubbish avalanche

Rubbish avalanche

and through some lovely mountain villages.

Mountain village

Mountain village

Mountain village

Mountain village

A calorific lunch at Lake Iznik before pressing on to Iznik town.

Picnic on Lake Iznik

Picnic on Lake Iznik

Our warm shower hosts Soner and Inci are amazing, having cycled all around Europe with their 2 year old boy and written two books. After a delicious meal we pondered our upcoming route to the Black Sea. Our route going forward becomes more hilly. Those legs had better get into shape quickly. The mind wants it that way!

Me and James with Soner and Inci

Me and James with Soner and Inci